Electronic privacy hits another bump in the road

The Justice Department asked a federal magistrate if it could check up on unsuspecting (and not necessarily suspect) email users, but instead of looking at contents, they wanted email header info instead. The magistrate balked, so Justice brought a friendly judge in to seal the deal.

Why would they do such a thing? Let me guess.

I just sent myself an encrypted email message, using everyday old (but extremely strong) PGP software, and turned off the decryption engine a moment later. Whoops, it just arrived back, message garbled for all eternity. But wait…lookee there! Plenty of header information for a paranoid prosecutor to flash in front of a court (smoke and mirrors close at hand, of course), in order to get a deeper surveillance warrant.

Nice. And useless.

This maneuver is going to assist in catching exactly ZERO bad guys. Once again, the government proves its lack of mettle (or just plain common sense), when it comes to electronic communications use.

Why the hell would a bad guy go through all the trouble to scramble an email communication, and not take the minute amount of time to bounce the email off some open proxy, using some readily available freeware that forges header information?

They are not that stupid, or we would have caught them all by now.

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